© David Loftus
meatballs and pasta
Meatballs are fantastic! They’re perfect like this, with a one-minute homemade tomato sauce and spaghetti, but you could also try polenta or simple chunks of fresh crust bread. I like to make meatballs with a mixture of beef and pork, as I think it gives a really wonderful flavour and texture.
To make your meatballs
Pick the rosemary leave off the woody stalks and finely chop them. Wrap the crackers in a kitchen towel and smash up until fine, breaking up any big bits with your hands. Add to a mixing bowl with mustard, ground meat, chopped rosemary and oregano. Crack in the egg and add a good pinch of salt and pepper. With clean hands, scrunch and mix up well. Divide into 4 large balls. With wet hands, divide each ball into 6 and roll into little meatballs—you should end up with 24. Drizzle them with olive oil and jiggle them about so they all get coated. Put them on a place, cover and place in the refrigerator until needed.
To cook your pasta, meatballs, and sauce
Pick the basil leaves, keeping any smaller ones to one side for later. Peel and finely chop the onion and the garlic. Finely slice the chile. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Next, heat a large fryng pan on a medium heat and add 2 lugs of olive oil. Add your onion to the frying pan and stir around for 7 minutes or until softened and lightly golden. Then add your garlic and chile, and as soon as they start to get some color add the large basil leaves. Add the tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil and season to taste. Meanwhile, heat another large frying pan and add a lug of olive oil and your meatballs. Stir them around and cook for 8 -10 minutes until golden (check they’re cooked by opening one up. There should be no sign of pink. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer until the past is ready, then remove from the heat. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions.
To serve your meatballs
Saving some of the cooking water, drain the pasta in a colander. Return the pasta to the pan. Spoon half the tomato sauce into the pasta, adding a little splash of your reserved water to loosen. Serve on a large platter or in separate bowls, with the rest of the sauce and meatballs on top. Sprinkle over the small basil leaves and some grated Parmesan.
This recipe is taken from Jamie's Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver (Hyperion). © Jamie Oliver, 2009
• 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
• 12 cream or plain crackers such as Jacob’s
• 2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1 pound good quality ground beef, pork or a mixture of the two
• 1 heaped tablespoon dried oregano
• 1 large egg, preferably free range or organic
• Sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper
• Olive oil
• A small bunch of fresh basil
• 1 medium onion
• 2 cloves of garlic
• ˝ a fresh or dried red chile
• 2 x 14-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1 pound dried spaghetti or penne
• Parmesan cheese for grating